Growing up my grandparents always reminded me to count my blessings and not my shortcomings; advice that echoes within Islam.
I have Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy; diagnosed aged 9. Before I reverted to Islam 14 months ago I saw my disability as a hurdle and was often filled with frustration and envy. I felt life had dealt me a cruel blow.
MD is a generative illness. Losing the ability to do things previously taken for granted; getting out of bed or making a hot drink on a cold winter’s evening; can leave you feeling like a lesser person. Useless, even.
As a child and teenager I was bullied as I walked differently. I was never chosen to be on anyone’s team in the playground. My life was a flurry of daydreams from the sidelines of life. I have a colourful imagination to this day.
Now life is different. I still can’t get out of bed and an average day in my life is like climbing a mountain.
From being assisted out of bed and spending the best part of an hour mimicking a contortionist to get dressed; to trying to get comfortable enough to sleep at night my time is spent saying Alhamdulillah for everything.
There is pain with LGMD but most of it doesn’t come from the disorder rather from secondary problems. Sitting in one position for up to 16 hours a day causes pressure pain. Transferring between surfaces often results in twisted wrists. And lifting a cup to drink can tear my biceps. On a bad day it feels like no part of my body is pain free. But I focus on what I have. I have my speech and vision. Alhamdulillah. I have food and shelter. Alhamdulillah.
Islam has blessed me with an inner strength. To know that each thing that befalls me is Allah’s will and is a test makes it easier to accept. When I finally stopped trying to control my destiny a weight was lifted from my mind and heart.
On top of this I saw Islam as a crutch. An emotional support. Turning to Allah built my self esteem and confidence.
Before Islam I avoided all medical assistance. Believing my body was far beyond help. Now I am in regular physiotherapy. I have a great team hoping to help me weight bear again. In shaa Allah.
I am perpetually grateful to Allah, for my friends and loved ones, for the ability to feel pain, for being able to smile at the world.
I’m sure there are challenges ahead of me and I will have to make some hard decisions but Allah SWT knows what I do not. And I trust Him with all my heart.
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